Tag Archives: Soul

Smoove & Turrell Release New Album, Broken Toys

Newcastle’s finest Smoove & Turrell are back in June with their third studio album Broken Toys. Their rise through the ranks of British soul has been nothing but unstoppable, here’s a little recap why…

First album Antique Soul scored some heavy points with singles I Can’t Give You Up, You Don’t Know and Beggarman. Gaining the lads two records of the week on Radio 2 (Radcliffe & Maconie) and their first ever-national playlist on 6music.  The original 7” of the northern soul banger I Can’t Give You Up still changes hands for up to £160 on the net. This propelled Smoove & Turrell to headlining stages at festivals such as Glastonbury and Big Chill to name a few, not bad for an unknown Geordie band.

Any worries about a difficult second album were brushed aside when in 2011 Smoove &Turrel released Eccentric Audio. With Smoove’s timeless production skills and a confident John Turrell at the top of his game both lyrically and vocally, Eccentric Audio saw the boys break through onto national TV and radio playlists throughout the UK and Europe. Getting two Radio 2 playlists with singles Hard Work and Gabriel and MTV Europe and Virgin Media playlists with single Slow Down.

Smoove & Turrell Broken Toys

Smoove & Turrell album artwork for Broken Toys

With the word starting to spread across the pond to America Smoove &Turrell tracks could be heard on as many things as network giant ABC’s prime-time campaign, feature film For A Good Time Call, video game The Crew and international smash hit series like The Finder and World of Jenks.

Back on home turf, track Hard Work was used on a national advertising campaign as well as others being used on a host of prime-time TV shows such as Match of the Day, Strictly Come Dancing, Splash and Coronation Street opening up Smoove &Turrell to yet a wider audience again.

Live performance highlights saw the boys perform in venues as varied as the legendary terrace in Space Ibiza, it took them as far a field as Moscow and Dubai, it let them play to the whole of Marseille from the ramparts of a castle and led them to support the one and only Nile Rodgers & Chic.

Now it’s 2014 and the album is Broken Toys. Scheduled for release in June, this is another jump forward both in terms of production and appeal. Sparkling pop songs flirt with disco influenced floor stompers in between the blues, jazz, funk and soul the boys are so well known for.

First out of the blocks was double A side single – Lay It On Me/I Just Want More and already gaining radio momentum with airplay on the likes of Gilles Peterson (BBC 6 Music) and Lisa Tarbuck (Radio 2) and which was swiftly followed by the barnstorming Will You Be Mine in late April.

Hitting the road again with their motley crew of Geordie reprobates Smoove & Turrell’s seven piece band will once again be gaining yet more of a loyal fan base both here in the UK and in Europe and the wider world.

Smoove & Turrell’s debut single, Lay It On Me/I Just Want More, was released on Jalapeno Records on 14 April taken from their forthcoming studio Broken Toys which will be released on 9 June.

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Ark Life Announce News Of Debut Album, The Dream Of You & Me

From 2007 to 2012, songwriter Jesse Elliott led rock & roll band These United States through five studio albums and nearly 1,000 live performances in the US, Canada and Europe, appearing everywhere from Glastonbury to SXSW, Daytrotter to Lollapalooza and garnering praise from NPR, The New York Times, SPIN, KEXP and others.

In early 2013, Elliott was stopping over for a month in Denver on his way to a new life in New York but as the members of Ark Life met each other, journeyed into the mountains and started playing music together, it became clear he’d have to stick around a little longer. The three-part harmonies of pianist Lindsay Giles, bassist Anna Morsett (also of TUS) and guitarist Natalie Tate blended too perfectly with veteran Denver drummer Ben Desoto (Nathaniel Rateliff, The Czars) and Ark Life was on the road to creating their debut album The Dream of You & Me. The album will be out August 19 2014 on Denver label Greater Than Collective and was produced by Eric D. Johnson of Fruit Bats. The band has just shared the first track, Let Your Heart Break with Paste Magazine which you can listen to here and onSoundcloud.

The Dream of You & Me is a mile high ocean of uplift, equal parts mischief and heartthrob, that pulls as much from contemporaries like Heartless Bastards, Elvis Perkins, and Sallie Ford as from the band’s enduring loves for CCR, Motown, Tom Petty and the classic campfire singalong. Fifteen months and 150 shows in, the garage-soul upstarts have toured coast to coast, sharing stages with Of Montreal, Gregory Alan Isakov, PHOX, The Moondoggies, The Head & the Heart, Mount Moriah, Ryan Bingham, J. Roddy Walston & the Business, Ha Ha Tonka and more.

Ark Life has just announced summer tour dates, including festival sets at Green Box Arts Festival & Joshua Tree Music Festival as well as a run of dates with Portland’s Quiet Life. All dates are below:

June 3 — Morrison, CO — Red Rocks Amphitheatre
June 5 — Los Angeles, CA — Highland Park Film Fest (Jesse Elliott solo)
June 6 — Yorkville, IL — Music Under the Stars
June 7 — Chicago, IL — Val’s List Summer Kick-off
June 8 — Dixon, IL — House Concert (email for details)
June 27 — Avon, CO — Beaver Creek Music Experience
June 28 — Crestone, CO — The Cloud Station
July 1 — Denver, CO — Levitt Pavilion (Ruby Hill Park)
July 2 — Everywhere, EV — LIVE FROM LEON Webcast
July 4 — Green Mountain Falls, CO — Green Box Arts Festival
July 24-27 — Denver, CO — The UMS
Aug 7 — Boise, ID — The Crux
Aug 8 — Hood River, OR — Cebu
Aug 12 — Seattle, WA — Tractor Tavern**
Aug 13 — Portland, OR — Doug Fir Lounge**
Aug 15 — Oakland, CA — We Are Scandinavia**
Aug 17 — Ventura, CA — Iron & Resin**
Aug 19 — Everywhere, EV – The Dream of You & Me release
Aug 19 — Las Vegas, NV — Downtown Container Park
Aug 20 — Flagstaff, AZ — Firecreek
Aug 21 — El Prado, NM — Taos Mesa Brewing
Aug 22 — Colorado Springs, CO — Ivywild**
Sept 13 — San Diego, CA — San Diego Music Thing
Oct 10-12 — Joshua Tree, CA — Joshua Tree Music Festival

** w/ Quiet Life

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Chris Schlarb To Release New Album, Making The Saint

Praised across the board for his sophisticated approach to merging eccentric pop, jazz, soul and avant-garde experimentation on Psychic Temple’s 2013 offering Psychic Temple II, band/cult leader, Chris Schlarb, returns with an immersive new LP Making The Saint.

Chris Schlarb has said about the record:

“Making The Saint is my new full-length album.

“I recorded it inside a cabin in the San Bernardino mountains of California. The owners told me to keep an eye out for ghosts. When I started driving up into the mountains, I didn’t have any new music prepared. I’d just finished an East Coast tour with my Psychic Temple band; six members strong on the road and twelve musicians back at home. A big band for sure. We’d already booked another tour with the guys, all of whom are professionals in their own right. As I drove, I found myself yearning for an intimate, unpolished sound.

“Even though Psychic Temple is a big deal, I love small records. When I say “small record,” I think of Sandy Bull’s Fantasias for Guitar and Banjo, Bill Evans trio recordings at the Village Vanguard, Fripp & Eno’s No Pussyfooting or Thelonius Monk’s sublime Solo Monk. Each of these albums is simple. They’re direct. Making The Saint is a small record too. I didn’t belabor it. The recording and mixing came quickly. I followed my instincts.

“This album is also a spiritual retreat for me; a healthy and necessary separation after so many strong collaborations. If you’re Sufist, you’d call this khalwa. In Japanese Zen Buddhism, it’s called sesshin. The Santerian process of Asiento requires the initiate to dress in white garments and avoid physical contact for one year. Like so many have done before me, I forced myself into a state of inner solitude to find something new.

“I hope you enjoy it and you experience something similar while listening.”

Making The Saint will be out on May 27 on Asthmatic Kitty.

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Stormporter are two story-writing Brits making sweet, soulful, indie pop-rock noise. Tim, from England and Tones, a Scot, came together to share their stories, make sweet music together and share fun times in their adopted country – New Zealand.



Stormporter tell stories through their music; stories about life. We all go through storms in our lives – sometimes exciting, often turbulent and sometimes life-changing. Stormporter believe there will always be someone or something to carry you through the storm.They hope the songs will get under your skin, that you’ll be moved or touched in some way, that the songs will become part of the soundtrack of your life. Perhaps, these songs will somehow help you through life’s storms.

Stormporter are hitting the stage and taking their infectious brand of soulful, indie pop-rock to New Zealand and the world.

Their debut single was released on March 10 and has been well received. The song is ear-worming it’s way across radio airwaves in New Zealand and the video is also being screened on New Zealand national music television (C4 and Juice TV).

The debut single, Find Yourself and their second single (due for release late April) were produced by Kiwi legend, Ben King (Goldenhorse, Grand Rapids). King also contributed bass on the songs. You’ll also hear Matthias Jordan (Pluto, Gin Wigmore) tinkling on the keys and cooking up some crazy big Hammond organ sounds. Adam Tobeck (Jesse Sheehan) is grooving on the drums and the sultry sounds of Haddon Smith (The Checks, Ruby Frost) on horns.

Stormporter’s sound and the influence for their songs are rooted in British Mod culture and the idea for the video for Find Yourself was inspired by the Northern Soul movement, born out of Northern England back in the late 60s/early 70s.

The result of this is a sweet and unique, soulful, grooving indie pop-rock sound and a vibe that will get you up out of your seats.

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Stereogum Premieres Dr Dog’s Video For Single, Distant Light

The renowned Philly rock group Dr. Dog debuted their new video via  Stereogum.com yesterday. The clip is for the band’s song Distant Light from their latest album B-Room and offers an appropriately psychedelic kaleidoscope of imagery for the track. The video was directed by Aaron Hymes who has previously worked with Broken Bells, Booker T. Jones, Raphael Saadiq among others.

A revered live act whose shows the New York Times Magazine described as “feeling as if you’re at the best house party ever,” Dr. Dog is currently touring North American in support of B-Room. The Village Voice recently said of the band: “the sextet dabble in DIY oddities that continually recall their forebearers — Dylan, the Dead, even Simon & Garfunkel at times — but still manage to stamp their own inky sound across the top of it all.”

The band’s latest powerfully mines and expands upon the surrounding landscape of Philadelphia soul. Captured primarily live in-studio, the rollicking groove and beloved musical interchange which has highlighted the band’s concerts resonates throughout the album.

You can catch Dr Dog live on the following dates:
31 Jan 14 – Electric Factory – Philadelphia, PA
01 Feb 14 – Electric Factory – Philadelphia, PA
03 Feb 14 – Madison Theatre – Cincinnati, OH **
05 Feb 14 – Turner Hall – Milwaukee, WI **
06 Feb 14 – First Avenue – Minneapolis, MN
07 Feb 14 – First Avenue – Minneapolis, MN **
08 Feb 14 – Riviera Theatre – Chicago, IL
19 Feb 14 – Civic Theatre – New Orleans, LA
20 Feb 14 – Warehouse Live – Houston, TX **
21 Feb 14 – Stubb’s – Austin, TX
22 Feb 14 – House of Blues – Dallas, TX **
24 Feb 14 – Crescent – Phoenix, AZ **
25 Feb 14 – Crescent – Phoenix, AZ **
26 Feb 14 – The Observatory – Santa Ana, CA **
27 Feb 14 – Wiltern – Los Angeles, CA **
28 Feb 14 – Catalyst – Santa Cruz, CA **
01 March 14 – Warfield – San Francisco, CA **
03 March 14 – Crystal Ballroom – Portland, OR **
04 March 14 – Venue – Vancouver, BC **
05 March 14 – Neptune Theater – Seattle, WA **
07 March 14 – Complex – Salt Lake City, UT **
08 March 14 – Boulder Theater – Boulder, CO **
10 March 14 – Liberty Hall – Lawrence, KS **
11 March 14 – Slowdown – Omaha, NE **
12 March 14 – The Pageant – St. Louis, MO **
14 March 14 – 9:30 Club – Washington, DC

** – With Saint Rich

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Freya Roy – Tomorrow EP Review

Only a teenager, Freya Roy is producing music that would be expected of someone double her age. Her voice has a quality in it that adds years to her vocals. Her lyrics aren’t simple, they aren’t ‘pop’ song lyrics. They have meaning and an understanding of the world which would be mistaken for someone twice her age. Freya Roy is a solo artist with a huge amount of potential and as she is still very young, her music will flourish as she does.

After releasing her debut EP in December 2012, Wait In The Water, she has returned with her latest EP release, Tomorrow. Tomorrow is just as awe-inspiring as Wait In The Water.

Track one Not Forgotten sees Roy experiment with a pop/jazz guitar riff using reverb overlapping with and complimenting the rhythm guitar which also uses the reverb effect. Knowing that Roy uses a loop peddle when performing live gives this song an extra boost – it’s perfect for a loop peddle. On Not Forgotten, Roy sings about a love lost, perhaps a torturous love which can damage the way someone thinks. It’s a song about breaking free from something that’s bad for you and pushing all those bad thoughts away while remembering what you have to look forward to, “Invest my mind with the stars that you gave me/There are in my head rotten at the core…Not forgotten I will not forget/The shine’s still shining in my head…Nothing better than a memory in my head/Keep them in front whilst you’re ahead”. Not Forgotten is a song about remembering the bad times,  appreciating the not so good memories, and moving forward. Roy’s vocals on this track are outstanding, there’s little control but this is what makes it so fantastic. Her voice ascends and descends showcasing so much emotion. Her voice has definitely matured in the last year. Not Forgotten is another example of Roy’s ability to write lyrics as if she has a whole life-time of experiences and wisdom.

I Know It’s Alright is another favourite off the Tomorrow EP. It starts as a solemn number with Roy’s vocals having a vague resemblance to Patti Smith’s deeper tones until the chorus kicks in and Roy finds her distinctive voice again. The lyrics, “I know it’s alright/When the rays are in my eyes/When the sun shine is so bright/I know it’s alright/When the tears dry from your eyes/When the sun shine is so bright” are incredibly memorable and singable as well as being uplifting and meaningful. This song has a really good feeling about it – the guitar riffs are summery, meditative and totally relaxing which all aids this good feeling.

Sunrise sees Roy experiment with her vocal range with the chorus able to send shivers down your spine. Roy expresses so much with her voice so her accompanying music can be kept simple. I See is a jazz influenced song with plenty of jazz guitar and jazz singing. It’s really uplifting and has some wonderfully calming harmonies.  It’s the penultimate track before Not Too Much Not Too Little comes in with its Jeff Buckley inspired sad tones.

The sound of the guitar on this record is very similar to the sounds achieved by Michael Kiwanuka – it has the jazz/folk/soul 70s feel to it. The whole EP has a familiar sound to it with influences from the likes of Patti Smith (vocals only), Michael Kiwanuka (guitar/stylistic qualities), Van Morrison and John Mayer (soul/jazz riffs). There is even a slight reminiscence of Jeff Buckley in some of the guitar riffs and tones.

Tomorrow is another marvelous release from Freya Roy. She is outstanding for her age – her wisdom, talent and view of life is much above most people at her age. This is an EP that everyone should take at least one listen of. It will open your eyes to the true talent that’s out there.

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Mavis Staples Biography By Greg Kot To Be Released This Month

Mavis Staples

Soul singer and civil rights activist Mavis Staples

Soul/gospel legend Mavis Staples is the subject of a new book entitled I’ll Take You There – Mavis Staples, The Staples Singers, and The March Up Freedom’s Highway which arrives in stores on January 21. The authorised biography by acclaimed journalist and author Greg Kot details Staples’ fascinating personal history as well as her profound and multi-faceted role in music, culture and the civil rights movement.

Staples, already a Rock And Roll Hall of Fame inductee, was recently nominated for a Grammy Award for her latest album One True Vine in the Best Americana Album category. The record is Staples’ second collaboration with Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy and the follow-up to 2010’s Grammy-winning, You Are Not Alone.

Mavis Staples will be performing on January 25 at The Pepperdine University Center for the Arts. For more information, click here.

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